Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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Tinseltown - Los Angeles - City of Angels


This post is description of my experience during my stay in Los Angeles. During fall of 2010, I was attending the Anderson Business School of UCLA as part of my exchange program. Let me tell you at the onset that it was one of my wonderful experiences I have had. After initial ice breaking events, welcome ceremonies and orientation sessions we were off to start our term. Well studies were only a part of the experience during the exchange. The other and importantly crucial part of the exchange was meeting new students, making great friends and visiting new places. During my stay there, I travelled to a number of cities in and around California which have been covered in separate posts. However, during the 4 months when Los Angeles was my temporary abode, I covered numerous spots of tourist interests in the city and suburban areas. Now in general most of my posts are continuous documentation of my experience, however this one ought to be different owing to the fact that the points of interests were covered over an extended period. Hence I thought of covering each spot as a separate sub-heading and so here it starts:

Inglewood Bowling Alley : This was the first event in the city and was organized by the Dashew Center which is the coordinating center for international students. It was the first place where we got to meet visitors from numerous countries around the world who were there to study at UCLA. The trip took us to a great sports arena which provided us an opportunity to try our hands at bowling, skiing and partying to the fullest. Food and drinks on the house was just a cherry on the cake and it indeed was a good start to the exchange term.

Getty Center : This is a beautifully maintained campus which houses the J. Paul Getty Museum. Costing over $1.3 million, the museum displays relics from ancient European and American art and culture including numerous photographs. The center offers great view of the LA city from its top especially during the nights. The well maintained garden is ideal for spending time during leisurely evenings with some of the bands performing on most of the nights.
Hollywood : Los Angeles is house to the Hollywood – American film industry. The walk across the Hollywood walk of fame which actually is a foot path with names of eminent contributors to the film industry engraved on it. Passing through the names of stars and directors you have grown watching gives a different feeling in itself. Along the lane are also some of the world renowned theatres including the Kodak Theatre (venue for the coveted Oscars) and also offers multiple museums (likes of Madam Tussads Wax Museum) and other places of interest. The marvelous view of the Hollywood Sign up above gains more significance when viewed from here. The locality also offers a Hollywood museum displaying intricacies of film making and other technical and scientific aspects of sound engineering and film development. The district of Hollywood is a must go for any visitor to the city or in fact the state itself.

Malibu : An hour ride away from LA is the city of Malibu with its beaches along the coast with the Pacific Ocean. The beaches here provide the quite environment if one is looking to relax on a sunny weekend away from the rush of LA. The city of Malibu is considered to be the home of affluence with most Hollywood celebrities and other richie-richs finding their abode here. Many houses on the coastline extend into the sea reserving personal beach spaces for themselves and looking at all this one wonders if he would be able to settle here sometime.

Torrance Go Karting : During one of the visits to the Groupon, I found a 1+1 deal for the K1 go karting circuit and so we were off to the suburb city of Torrance. After about a couple of bus changes and around an hour ride, we were finally at the place. The area near the facility was mostly serene with trees surrounding the roads and providing great shade for short breaks. A couple of runs on the racing circuit were enough to raise the adrenaline level and was time and money well spent.

Venice Beach and Santa Monica Beach : These two beaches in the city of Los Angeles are ideal evening destinations to relax after a working day in office or after long boring lectures. Though the place is hustled with people as is expected from a beach in the middle of a city, but provides a great glimpse of the Pacific.

Universal Studio : One of the places you cannot miss in LA is the Universal Studio. This widespread sprawling campus offers to the tourist intricacies of what happens behind the scenes during making of movies and TV serials. We were witness to live shooting of the series NCIS during our visit. Apart from many exciting rides, we were taken through a bus ride which showcased actual locations of shootings of various series or movies. We were also shown how various stunts and common scenes were filmed including those of flying cars, crashing planes, approaching sharks and engulfing fires. We also had an opportunity of experiencing 4D movie show during our visit.

LA Auto show : This annual exhibition of the motor cars, held in November, is a wonderful opportunity to get a glimpse into world of cars and how big manufactures view the future of automobiles. It is the place to be if you want to preview upcoming cars, understand various technologies or get a glimpse into concept models that companies are working on. In case you fantasize yourself in those BMWs, Mercs or Audis and want yourself to be clicked behind those wheels, this event provides perfect opportunity. It is a perfect for both auto enthusiasts and not so enthusiasts with the eye-candies on display.

Exposition Park : Exposition Park is house of a number of facilities including gardens, sports arena, California Science Center, history museum, rose garden and IMAX theatre.


Beat SC : This is one event of the UCLA which unites the entire university to wish the best for the upcoming football season and it one of the biggest fanfares on the campus. It is held on the week before the famous UCLA-USC match and as the name suggests cheers the team to go win it!! The event witnesses huge bonfire on a winter night with live performances from the band and ladies troupe. I doubt any other tradition or event on UCLA calendar generates such an excitement or celebration of spirit.

Griffith Park : One of the biggest parks in Los Angeles and busiest of the shooting locations, this campus houses a number of tourist attractions in the city. This is over 4000 acre campus housing Griffith Observatory, various trek routes and green surrounding. This is a good place to spend an entire day and deserves a visit by any tourist in the city.

The exchange term did give an opportunity to meet many new people and visit numerous places. Overall it was one of the most memorable time and would surely remember and cherish it for times to come.

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